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Re: CS00003271 - Please review your case update - (Assigned)

On Wed, 25 May 2005 11:24:27 -0700, NIC Technology Support wrote:

> Below is a response to your case number CS00003271 submitted to Broadcom NIC Technology Support.
> Case Title: GPLed driver and binary-only firmware blobs.
> Response from Broadcom: Can you please check with your Legal team and let me know if the following license is acceptable by them:

The license below looks good.  Do you plan to release a new version of the
firmware with this license included, or are you going to give us
permission to redistribute the existing firmware under this license?  If
the latter is the case, we can submit a patch to add the license to the
kernel for you.

Also, as I mentioned, we're looking for the copyright owner of the acenic
firmware.  If you do in fact hold the copyright to the firmware image,
would you mind also changing the license of that to be similar to the
license below?  I've included my original email about the acenic firmware
below, for reference.

> +/* xxx.h: Broadcom tg3 network driver.
> + *
> + * Copyright (c) 2004, 2005 Broadcom Corporation
> + *
> + * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
> + * it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
> + * the Free Software Foundation, except as noted below.
> + *
> + * This file contains firmware data derived from proprietary 
> +unpublished
> + * source code, Copyright (c) 2004, 2005 Broadcom Corporation.
> + *
> + * Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware 
> +data
> + * in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright notice 
> +is
> + * accompanying it.
> + */
> +

The original acenic email:


Somewhat related to CS00003271, we (Debian) are trying to clear up the
licensing on Linux's acenic driver.  This driver was originally written
by Jes Sorensen for Alteon, for the Tigon 1 nic chipset.  The firmware
file, acenic_firmware.h, does not contain any licensing information.
I've spoken with Jes; he claims that he was given permission to
distribute the code _with_ a GPL'd driver, but does not know what the
distribution restrictions on the firmware itself are (and apparently has
lost the contract between Alteon and CERN, his former employer).

Alteon sold the rights to their NIC design to Nortel years ago; Nortel
then sold off some rights to 3Com and/or Broadcom, and 3Com possibly
sold off some of these rights to Broadcom as well.  So, I'm trying to
track down who actually owns the rights to this firmware, and what the
licensing is for the firmware.

If I should be contacting 3Com or some other company instead, please let
me know.

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